Edwin Parr Nominees Announced

14
Connections For Learning, Graminia School, Parkland Student Athlete Academy, Spruce Grove Composite High School

March 14, 2022 - Parkland School Division is proud to announce its three nominees for the Edwin Parr Teacher Awards: Alyssa Bridgeman (Connections for Learning), Laura Kraus (Graminia School) and Taylor Pocock (Spruce Grove Composite High School).

The Edwin Parr Teachers Awards are presented annually by the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) to honour outstanding first-year teachers. The awards are bestowed upon a maximum of six teachers, each representing a different provincial zone. School boards may nominate any first-year kindergarten to Grade 12 teacher who has taught in an Alberta school jurisdiction that is a member of the ASBA. Parkland School Division is within Zone 2/3.

School boards must select one teacher to serve as their official nomination for their zone’s award. On March 8, at the Board’s Regular Meeting, Trustees recognized all three nominees and announced Mr. Pocock’s nomination would be submitted to the ASBA Zone 2/3 Edwin Parr Selection Committee for consideration. A PSD selection committee narrowed down the field to three and recommended Mr. Pocock to be PSD’s entry for the Zone 2/3 award.

PSD is extremely proud of the difference these three teachers have made in their schools and in their students’ lives. It is commendable that they have each made a strong impression in such a short time. All three demonstrate a dedication to education and the entire division wishes Mr. Pocock good luck as he continues in the ASBA’s selection process for the Zone 2/3 award. The ASBA is expected to announce the winner in May.

Mr. Taylor Pocock (Spruce Grove Composite High School)
Grades 10–12 Physical Education, Foods and English Language Arts

“I realized that if I became a high school teacher I’d get to combine all the things I’m passionate about into one career," explained Pocock.

"I get to coach, be a mentor for high school-aged youth and talk about my passion each day, which is English literature. I really genuinely love it.”

Taylor is constantly engaged with his classes while working to build strong connections with his students. Whether it be smoothly connecting an off-topic interruption by a student to the learning at hand without missing a beat or recognizing student engagement and completion issues as a serious mental health concern, the ease with which Taylor balances learning and relationships is truly impressive and inspirational. He often knows exactly where students need support, and has ideas for change and adaptation. Often, the beginning of a reflective conversation between Taylor and a colleague develops into a collaboration where fresh new ideas for a lesson, a way to engage students or content integration is born.

“As long as you approach [students] on an equal playing field, you treat them more like an equal or someone you show respect for, they’ll show that respect in return. By being respectful to them and building that reciprocal relationship they recognize me as that authority figure in the class. You need to make enough positive deposits with these kids, where once you go to make a negative withdrawal, that it’s going to be impactful.”

His intentional inclusion of Indigenous content is rare to find in beginning teachers’ classrooms. There is no doubt that Taylor will continue to seek out resources and ways to create connection and authentic learning about Indigenous culture.

Taylor coaches and brings excitement, a positive perspective and excellent skill development to our volleyball teams. He recognizes coaching as an opportunity to develop young people into responsible, hard-working, respectful yet impactful young adults. He is invested not just in activities, but in developing soft skills that build empathetic students who are positive contributors to the school community and the community at large. Taylor encourages students to rise to their full potential and always bring their best to the table.

Ms. Alyssa Bridgeman (Connections for Learning)
Grade 7 Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science

Alyssa’s commitment to building her relationship with students has extended beyond the classroom. She has made an effort to attend every single one of her students’ external sporting events and watch them compete or perform in their respective sports. Alyssa brings a unique skill set to the Parkland Student Athlete Academy (PSAA). She was a post-secondary athlete herself which gives her the knowledge and experience to effectively contribute to athletic and extracurricular activities.

In class, she has established a daily sharing circle which has been a valuable tool for her to check in with her students and to build empathy among the students. She is also supportive of school-wide and divisional approaches to building capacity in First Nations, Metis and Inuit education.

Ms. Laura Kraus (Graminia School)
All subjects to her Grade 6 class and Grade 6 Science to the entire school

Laura has established a number of routines that work to build classroom community and motivate her students. One of the main ways that Laura has demonstrated this competency is through the use of talking circles as a community builder in her classroom. This contributes to a safe environment in which students can share their point of view with their peers and reinforces the value that everyone is equal and belongs. In her work outside of the classroom, in roles such as coach of the Junior B basketball team, she has been able to foster student relationships in a different setting.

Additionally, Laura worked with her teaching partner and our Family and Community Support Worker to establish a "Girl's Group" which gives her sixth-grade students a space to take part in community-building activities.

About the Edwin Parr Teachers Awards

In 1964, the Alberta School Trustees’ Association (the ASBA’s predecessor) established the Edwin Parr Teacher Award to remember the long and meritorious service of past President Edwin Parr. Nominees of the award are selected based on their:

  • Knowledge of student learning styles;
  • Skill in utilizing a variety of student evaluation methodologies;
  • Skill in diagnosing the entry knowledge and/or skill of students for a given set of instructional objectives;
  • Skill in assisting students to develop a positive self-concept;
  • Involvement in professional development;
  • Involvement in extracurricular and community activities; and,
  • Interpersonal skills with students.

For more information, contact:
Parkland School Division
Email: DivisionOffice@psd.ca

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